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Trinity Valley EC News

Grow Your Summer Energy Savings

Message From General Manager/CEO Jeff Lane

One of my favorite things about summer is the opportunity for fresh, homegrown food, whether it’s shopping at the local farmers market or sharing the abundance of garden tomatoes with a neighbor. The simplicity of a few seeds, some fertilizer and water turning into a bounty is amazing.

Similarly, when I think about energy efficiency, I think about how a few simple actions can help you use less electricity and reap the rewards of energy savings.

Summer months bring some of the highest energy bills of the year due to heavy air conditioning use. Here are a few ways to help you save—not only during the dog days of summer but throughout the year.

Check your AC system. Your air conditioner requires regular maintenance to function efficiently, and neglecting it can lead to poor performance and higher energy use. Have the system serviced annually by a certified technician. Clear leaves and any other debris away from outside components. Vacuum air vents regularly to remove any dust buildup and ensure nothing is hampering airflow through the vents. Most importantly, replace the air filter regularly—monthly during seasons of heavy AC use.

Use your thermostat wisely. Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer, ideally 78 degrees or higher—and higher still when the house is empty. Every degree will decrease energy usage 6%–8%. A smart thermostat can automate thermostat settings to accommodate your family’s schedule.

Use fans. Running a fan is much cheaper than running your AC. In fact, running a fan 24/7 for an entire month would only cost about $5 in electricity. Fans don’t actually produce cold air—they just move the air around. But that air flow creates a wind chill effect that helps people feel more comfortable. If you use a ceiling fan with your air conditioning, you can set your thermostat up to 4 degrees higher with no reduction in comfort.

Close your blinds. Closing blinds or drapes in the daytime keeps out sunlight and its heat. Southern- and western-facing walls take the brunt of the sun’s heat, so invest in good drapes or shades for the windows on these walls and keep them closed.

Avoid the oven. Cooking with a conventional oven adds heat to your house, forcing your AC to work harder. Use a microwave or slow cooker to keep the kitchen cool. Better yet, use the summer heat as an excuse to fire up the old backyard barbecue.

Wash strategically. Washing machines, clothes dryers and dishwashers all generate a ton of heat. Cut back on this added heat by only using cold water to do your washing. Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes to avoid running the appliances too much. Avoid using your clothes dryer entirely by hanging up wet clothes to air dry.

If you aren’t using it, unplug it. From your computer to your coffee maker, all electronics generate heat. Even if it’s switched off, just being plugged in generates a small amount of heat—and uses electricity. Unplug any electronics you’re not using. It’s not much per device, but add up all the gizmos in your home, and it can make a few degrees—and kilowatt-hours—of difference.

One of the great things about being part of Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative is that we’re locally owned by you, our members. So instead of making profits, we can focus on helping our community. That’s why we’re always looking for ways to help you keep your money in your wallet.